Medical Waste Tracking Act of1988 1988: Medical wastes washed up on several East Coast beaches Congress enacted Medical Waste Tracking Act (MWTA) of 1988: Defined medical waste and established which medical wastes would be subject to program regulations cradle-to-grave tracking system. management standards for segregation, packaging, labeling and marking, and storage of the medical waste. record keeping requirements and penalties
Safe disposal programs Drop Box or Supervised Collection Sites Mail-Back Programs Syringe Exchange Programs (SEP) At-Home Needle Destruction Devices
Risks associated with wastedisposal Water contamination Occupational risks Environmental risks Pollutants Carcinogens Dioxins Furans Other harmful chemicals
Occupational and public healthrisks sharps are considered as one of the most dangerous category of waste. Many injuries occur because syringe needles or other sharps have not been collected in safety boxes or because these have been overfilled.
Incineration regulation Over 90% of potentially infectious medical waste is incinerated
Alternatives to incineration EPA’s new medical waste incinerator standards hard and expensive to comply with new waste disposal techniques Alternatives: Thermal treatment Steam sterilization Electropyrolysis Chemical mechanical systems, among others
Reduction of medical wastepollution 2009: EPA passed new rule that mandates: reduction in the amount of mercury that can be released from incinerators Enhanced testing of small, rural, medical waste incinerators, resulting in better enforcement in rural communities reductions in dioxins, lead and other major pollutants
Waste Management Considerations for2009 H1N1 Flu magnitude of the pandemic resulted in an increased awareness of waste management considerations associated with the virus overall waste management approach similar to other flu-related waste